One of the key creative figures at 38 Studios is veteran fantasy author and longtime gamer R.A. Salvatore, who is setting his world-building expertise to work creating the lore and universe for the in-progress fantasy MMO codenamed Copernicus.
When 38 Studios acquired Big Huge Games, the Copernicus setting also became home to a single-player game with the working title of Mercury -- authored by Elder Scrolls designer Ken Rolston, with whom Salvatore is working.
Now, in a new Gamasutra feature interview with Salvatore, the author talks about how creating worlds for MMOs is similar to creating them for books, and what lessons game designers can take from an authorial approach.
"Whether it's writing a book or creating world for a game, the most important thing you're asking people for is their suspension of disbelief," Salvatore says. "That's the critical thing. You're all going to come up with different sweet spots that you want to work on in a world with a different tone."
"And I think the key is really consistency. It's making the music fit the art, and the art fit the story, and the story fit the races, and the races fit the whole tone of the world," he suggests.
Consistency creates immersion, and immersion is essential: "The more they're immersed in it, the more they're gonna care about it. The more they care about it, you win," he says. "Whether it's a book or a game."
In the full feature, Salvatore explains his approach to incorporating works of art and history when imagining and creating his fantasy environments, and how that methodology can translate to game worlds.